your future is (still) ayala

(Full disclosure, I used to work for Ayala Corporation.)

The Makati CBD is the Philippine's undisputed premiere financial and business district and, despite the emergence of new CBDs, is still home to both the largest businesses and the tallest buildings in the country. That it became the epicenter of Philippine commerce is a testament to good planning, good corporate governance, and the long-term vision of the country's oldest business house.

The Ayalas invested in and developed the business district back in the 1930s, when Makati was just largely empty marshland and when the growing Manila metropolis was expanding to the north (Quezon City). Under the leadership of Joseph McMicking, the Ayalas masterplanned the 1,000+ hectares, intending it to become "Asia's showcase of urban development." (This was back when Singapore was still a trading post.) It was the first large scale, fully-integrated real estate project in South East Asia, the first to feature a business and commercial core surrounded by residential development.

Today, the CBD still hosts the most expensive office spaces and the priciest land values (save for Divisoria -which, per square meter, is still the most expensive land in the country) and has propelled its host city to the top of the LGU income rankings. (Makati has been dethroned from the top rank in the last few years by an ascendant and very well-managed Quezon City.)

Some half a million pinoys work in the CBD, their incomes directly supporting another 2.5 million of the population, and indirectly supporting probably 5 times that number as consumers and as producers in the economy. The CBD has shaped not only our country's economic history, but also the political and cultural history of the last five decades.

Ayala Land, Inc. (Ayala's real estate development arm) has more up its sleeve -with a land bank that will probably shape the next 50 if not 100 years of our history. There's the 254 hectares of Fort Bonifacio -with its new masterplan, then there's the 38 hectare UP North Science Park in Diliman.

The new crown jewel will be ALI's new developments in Canlubang*which, at nearly 17 square kilometers, is 1.5 times the size of Ayala's original developments in the Makati CBD. To put that in another perspective, you can fit 6.5 Fort Bonifacio-sized developments inside the Canlubang properties -with room to spare.

Canlubang, meanwhile represents just 41% of ALI's total land bank! That means, ladies and gentlemen, that your future urban lifestyle and experience will still be shaped, in no small part, by the 170 year-old company. Your children and your grandchildren will probably be working, living or shopping in some Ayala development another hundred years hence.

* -An aside: that last link is to bworldonline article which requires subscription, but Businessworld's online edition. But Businessworld, supposedly the leading business broadsheet in the country, STILL DOES NOT TAKE online payments via credit card -and asks would be international subcribers to instead FAX their credit card details to their offices in Manila. They even ask for the security number! How backward is that in this age of identity theft?? Is their sales division led by a luddite? Could someone please, please lead them to 21st century and to the internet economy?

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